How to Get SSDI on top of an Approved VA Claim! (2023)

Nearly 4 million veterans live with a disability recognized by the VA and many are curious aout how to get SSDI. While the VA provides benefits intended to ease the financial burden you may face with a disabling condition, in some cases you may require additional assistance. In such cases, it is often possible to qualify for both VA benefits and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI).

While most people applying for SSDI benefits are disqualified from receiving disability benefits if they continue earning money from work, your VA benefits are considered “non-work” compensation.

With around 1.1 million disabled vets assigned a disability rating of 70% or higher, meaning they are living with a condition that makes it difficult to work or live normally, it is not uncommon to seek the additional benefits provided by SSDI. However, before seeking to add SSDI benefits to what you are already receiving from the VA, it will be important to understand the differences between how the VA and the Social Security Administration (SSA) determine benefits, as they both have different requirements.

The rest of this article will begin by explaining those differences. From there you will learn how to qualify for SSDI on top of your approved VA disability benefits.

Table of Contents

  • How SSDI Differs from VA Disability
  • How to Get SSDI on Top of Your VA Benefits
  • How to Get the Most Benefits Possible from SSDI and the VA
  • Conclusion
  • About the Author
(Video) The Top 5 Mistakes Veterans Make When Filing Social Security Claims

How SSDI Differs from VA Disability

Despite both the VA and SSA being government programs, they offer different benefits and hold different requirements to receive those benefits. To start, they both have a different definition of “Disability”.

The VA recognizes most conditions that are considered to have been “incurred or aggravated by military service.” This means that even lesser conditions may be awarded some compensation. The VA rates service-connected conditions on a scale of 0-100, with compensation being awarded beginning at a 10% rating. Therefore it’s possible for you to receive payments even without being completely disabled.

The SSA, on the other hand, does not use a similar percentage-based system. In order to receive SSDI, you must provide evidence of a physical or mental health condition that limits your ability to maintain gainful employment. You also must provide evidence that your condition has lasted, or will continue to last, for at least 12 months, or end only in death.

This also means that SSDI has a higher requirement to meet in order to receive benefits.

However, you also do not need to prove a service-connection for SSDI, nor is your discharge status taken into account. Also, there is no graduated scale of payment for SSDI. Your SSDI benefit will be calculated by the SSA looking at your average earnings from your work history record.

Finally, while it may be obvious, the VA benefits are reserved strictly for veterans, while SSDI is available to any American who may require assistance for their disability.

How to Get SSDI on Top of Your VA Benefits

In order to determine if your condition meets the higher requirements that SSDI has you can refer to the SSA’s Blue Book. In fact, you can check it out on their website by clicking here. Within you’ll find all conditions that qualify as well as the requirements that must be met under those conditions to receive benefits.

If you are completely and permanently disabled, your odds of qualifying for SSDI are fairly high. The SSA rarely denies benefits for veterans that are fully disabled, so long as they meet all other SSDI requirements.

(Video) 100% Disabled Rating from the VA. Easy Social Security Disability Win?

Now, before you submit your claim to SSA, you will want to know that veterans receive special “perks” beginning at the application process and continuing forward.

First of all, veterans often qualify for an expedited application process. Meaning that, while most Americans may have to wait months to receive a decision on their claim and then benefits, veterans may receive their benefits within just a few weeks.

Secondly, if you’ve already had your claim accepted by the VA, and you are rated 70% or higher for your condition, you automatically have a higher chance of acceptance. Of course, as of 2017 new Social Security regulations dictate that they are no longer allowed to take into consideration whether or not the VA has already approved you. Despite this, the SSA will consider any evidence that the VA has already accumulated, which gives you a very strong case to present to them since your disability has already been established. Since both are government agencies, this information can be shared electronically, which can help expedite your process.

Finally, you may continue to receive TRICARE benefits on top of any Medicare benefits you can gain by receiving SSDI. This is great news as Medicare provides more coverage, while TRICARE will act as your secondary insurance, which will help with any additional costs on top of what Medicare covers.

To start your SSA application you can go to There you will be able to fill out and submit your application for SSDI. There you will also find everything you need to know for assisting you during the process, including plenty of FAQ’s and other lists.

With the application, you will want to have your medical records and financial records, along with proof of your military pay and all the VA records that support your disability. Also, if you were formally discharged you will want to have your Form DD214 with you.

Having everything organized and on-hand will make things much easier as you apply.

How to Get the Most Benefits Possible from SSDI and the VA

If you’re fully disabled from a service-connected condition, you deserve to receive the greatest amount of assistance possible. This all starts by getting a 100% rating from the VA for your condition. The combination of full VA disability compensation combined with SSDI benefits can combine to be very helpful in giving you the best quality of life you can still have.

To increase your chances at receiving 100% disability from the VA, you can check out this video:

(Video) How to Collect Both VA Disability and SSDI - What is needed & expedite the Social Security Process

And if you’ve already been given a VA rating less than 100%, you may want to appeal to get a higher rating OR file for TDIU. You can do so by filing an appeal. Learn what that process looks like by clicking here

With a 100% rating to start with (or anything over 70%), you should have all you need to receive SSDI on top of it.

Most conditions that qualify for a higher rating from the VA also qualify for SSDI per the SSA Blue Book. However, if your condition is not found in the Blue Book, it is still possible to qualify for SSDI under Residual Function Capacity (RFC) if you cannot work.

The RFC form will help you determine the maximum amount of work you can perform with your condition. This is something your doctor will be asked to fill out. In order to get the process started, inform your doctor of your intent to file an application for disability benefits early. This way the RFC can be completed and submitted quickly. Often, when the diagnosis is not enough to qualify for benefits, the RFC form is the most important document in your application.

Looking at the Blue Book early to determine if you may qualify can help you begin your application with the RFC in mind. Make sure you include all your supporting medical records to support the RFC form so that you have the best chance of the SSA approving your claim.


Because there are no limitations to applying for SSDI on top of VA benefits, we recommend doing so to get the most assistance you possibly can.

(Video) 2023 Disability Claim Approval Wait Times For Each State

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About the Author

About VA Claims Insider

VA Claims insider is an education-based coaching/consulting company. We’re here for disabled veterans exploring eligibility for increased VA disability benefits and who wish to learn more about that process. We also connect veterans with independent medical professionals in our referral network for medical examinations, disability evaluations, and credible independent medical opinions and nexus statements (medical nexus letters) for a wide range of disability conditions.

(Video) Spinal Stenosis: Strong Evidence of Disability


Is it easier to get SSDI if you are 100 disabled veteran? ›

Most veterans with a disability rating of 70% or above will qualify. In fact, if your disability rating is 100% P&T, the SSA will expedite your claim for quick processing. Your claim will also be expedited[iii] if you served in the military on or after October 1, 2001.

How much SSDI can a veteran receive? ›

If you are a disabled veteran who served in any branch of the United States military, you may be entitled to up to $2,700 in payments each month through the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program.

Can I collect SSDI and VA disability at the same time? ›

SSDI and VA disability compensations are not affected by each other, so you may be eligible to receive both. However, you must apply for them separately.

How can I increase my SSDI amount? ›

You can increase Social Security Disability payments by working at least 35 years before retiring, understanding the benefits of working past retirement age, and avoiding Social Security's tax consequences. If you are married, married applicants can maximize their disability payments by claiming their spousal benefits.

Do veterans get SSDI faster? ›

SSA Expedited Processing for Veterans

Veterans who received disabling mental or physical health injuries while on active duty on or after October 1, 2001, are eligible for expedited SSI/SSDI application processing. The injury does not need to have occurred during combat operations.

How long does it take for a veteran to get SSDI? ›

Once completed, an initial decision takes between 60-120 days. However, if the applicant is a veteran they may file a form known as 1-2-1-95 (critical request evaluation sheet). This expedited process is for members of the military who served after October 1, 2001, regardless of where the disability occurred.

Can I get SSDI with 70 VA? ›

Can I collect both Social Security disability benefits and VA disability compensation? Yes, military veterans who become disabled during their service can collect disability benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA) and U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) disability compensation at the same time.

How much does 100 VA disability pay for SSDI? ›

This is an increase from the $1,350 maximum SSDI benefit for 2022. On the other hand, VA benefits for a veteran with no spouse or children start from $165.92 per month for a 10% disability rating up to $3,621.93 for a 100% disability rating.

What if my disability check is not enough? ›

When your disability check isn't enough to live on, you may have additional options at your disposal. For example, you may qualify for extra help in specific areas such as health care costs, food, and housing. Different federal, state, and local programs may be available.

Does TDIU guarantee SSDI? ›

Thankfully, Veterans are able to receive both TDIU and SSDI if they qualify for both. If you're denied a benefit from either the VA or the SSA, it's important to remember that this does not automatically disqualify you from receiving benefits from the other.

Can I get an advance on my VA disability check? ›

C. If VA approves a request for advance, VA will process the advance as close to the actual disbursement date when the contractor or grantee will pay for the associated allowable costs. Whenever possible, VA will consolidate advance payments by recipients.

What is the $200 dollar SSDI increase? ›

The average monthly Social Security check was about $1,658 as of Dec. 2022, meaning a $200 increase would represent a 12% boost.

How is the amount of SSDI determined? ›

The amount of your monthly SSDI benefit is based on your lifetime average earnings covered by Social Security.

How much can I earn on SSDI in 2023? ›

resources-supports.htm. During the trial work period, there are no limits on your earnings. During the 36-month extended period of eligibility, you usually can make no more than $1,470 ($2,460 if you are blind) a month in 2023 or your benefits will stop. These amounts are known as Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA).

How can I get disability fast in VA? ›

When you provide all required evidence at the same time you submit a claim electronically through eBenefits AND certify that you have no more evidence, you are filing an electronic FDC. Providing all your documentation up front helps VA issue the fastest claim decision possible.

How hard is it to get a VA disability increase? ›

Ultimately, you may want to ask the VA for a rating increase. The process for making this request isn't difficult. However, the outcome of this request may not be exactly what you expect or intend. It's possible that making a request for this change can actually lower your disability rating.

How long can I be on SSDI? ›

Social Security Disability can stay active for as long as you're disabled. If you receive benefits until age 65, your SSDI benefits will stop, and your retirement benefits will begin. In other words, your SSDI benefits change to Social Security retirement benefits. Sometimes, SSDI benefits will stop before age 65.

What is the Social Security bonus trick? ›

Wait as Long as You Can

For every year that you delay claiming past full retirement age, your monthly benefits will get an 8% “bonus.” That amounts to a whopping 24% if you wait to file until age 70.

What is the Social Security loophole? ›

The Restricted Application Loophole

Every year you delay, your monthly retirement benefit increases (until age 70). One Social Security loophole allowed married individuals to begin receiving a spousal benefit at full retirement age, while letting their own retirement benefit grow.

What is the VA age 55 rule? ›

Revaluating VA Disability Ratings

Once you turn 55, you are typically "protected" and will no longer have to attend an exam to prove that your condition has not changed unless there is reason to suspect fraud. This is sometimes called the 55-year rule.

What happens to my VA disability when I turn 65? ›

Even after veterans reach full retirement age, VA's disability payments continue at the same level. By contrast, the income that people receive after they retire (from Social Security or private pensions) usually is less than their earnings from wages and salary before retirement.

What VA percentage is considered disabled? ›

VA rates disability from 0% to 100% in 10% increments (e.g. 10%, 20%, 30% etc.). See the Combined Ratings section below for information about how VA calculates disability percentage for multiple disabilities.

Will VA disability rates increase in 2023? ›

VA disability pay for 2023 increased by 8.7%. The new disability compensation rates took effect on December 1, 2022. See the current VA disability pay chart, and calculate your monthly compensation.

What is the COLA increase for 2023 for VA disability? ›

Disabled veterans and military retirees will see a nearly 9% cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) in their monthly benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs in 2023, the most significant jump since 1981.

Can you get SSDI for VA PTSD? ›

Yes—if you are a veteran diagnosed with PTSD (or are living with symptoms and suspect you have the condition) you may qualify for Veterans Affairs (VA) disability benefits, Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits, or both.

How do you survive on SSDI? ›

Here are some tips for surviving on SSDI benefits.
  1. Benefits for Family Members. ...
  2. Supplemental Security Income. ...
  3. Earning Additional Income on SSDI. ...
  4. Ticket to Work Program. ...
  5. Food Stamps. ...
  6. Energy Assistance Programs. ...
  7. Clipping Grocery Coupons. ...
  8. Medication Assistance and Samples.

Why is my SSDI amount so low? ›

If you receive other government benefits, your monthly SSDI benefit could be reduced. Sources of income that could affect your payment include: Workers' compensation. Public disability benefits.

Why is my VA disability check so low? ›

Your compensation may end up being less than it otherwise would be if either of the below is true: You receive military retirement pay, disability severance pay, or separation pay, or. You're incarcerated in a federal, state, or local facility for more than 60 days for conviction of a felony.

Is TDIU the same as permanent and total disability? ›

Total Disability Individual Unemployability (TDIU) Overview

Veterans may receive TDIU benefits on a temporary basis or indefinitely. When a veteran cannot return to any type of gainful employment, they may qualify for TDIU with permanent and total benefits. Some veterans receive TDIU for a limited period of time.

Is TDIU considered 100% disability? ›

Veterans receiving Total Disability Individual Unemployability benefits (TDIU) receive compensation at the same rate as those who are considered 100% disabled. However, it is generally easier to be approved for TDIU benefits than it is to earn a 100% rating under the VA's schedular criteria.

How often does the VA reevaluate TDIU? ›

Basically, the VA can reevaluate your disability rating every 2 to 5 years unless your rating is permanent or protected. Depending on the results of the reexamination and reevaluation, you may see a reduced rating. Some conditions are likely to fluctuate in severity over time. An example of this?

Can I get my VA disability in a lump sum? ›

Disability severance pay from the military is granted for a disability received or acquired while in the military and is usually paid in a lump sum. VA compensation is unlike severance pay because it is not paid in a single lump sum, but is paid out over time.

What is a disability loan? ›

A disability loan is a personal loan you can use for necessary, everyday expenses like groceries, bills or mortgage payments if your disability has rendered you unable to work.

How much is DSP advance payment? ›

For a regular advance, the amount you can get is 3.75% of the standard rate for one child under 13. We pay it to you every 26 weeks. We do this as long as you're still eligible or until you ask us to stop. For a one off advance the highest amount you can get is 7.5% of your annual rate.

Will SSDI recipients get a cost-of-living increase? ›

Social Security benefits and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments will increase by 8.7% in 2023. This is the annual cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) required by law. The increase will begin with benefits that Social Security beneficiaries receive in January 2023.

How much is the COLA for SSDI? ›

Learn More About the COLA for SSDI in 2022

The SSA issued a 5.9% COLA for 2022 to address concerns regarding rising inflation.

How much will SSDI go up next year? ›

SSDI benefit amounts

According to the Social Security Administration (SSA), the 2023 COLA will increase the average monthly SSDI benefit for a disabled worker by $119, from $1,364 to $1,483. About 1.25 million family members also receive SSDI on the earnings record of a disabled spouse, former spouse or parent.

What is the average SSDI monthly payment? ›

In 2022, the average monthly benefit amount paid to an SSDI recipient is around $1,358 but can go as high as around $3,345 a month for those whose income was fairly high in recent years.

How long after I receive my award letter will I get my money? ›

You can usually expect your back pay and first monthly check to start 30-90 days after the award letter. As far as insurance is concerned, if you were approved for SSI, you will receive If approved for SSI, will receive Medicaid benefits automatically depending on the state you live in.

What happens after you get a fully favorable disability decision? ›

If you receive a fully favorable decision, the SSA approved your application with the onset date of disability that you originally noted. You will then start receiving disability benefits as soon as your elimination period or waiting period has ended.

What is the most hours you can work on disability? ›

Social Security typically allows up to 45 hours of work per month if you're self-employed and on SSDI. That comes out to around 10 hours per week. The SSA will also see whether or not you're the only person working for your business. You must not be earning SGA, along with not working too many hours.

Is it easier to get SSDI after age 60? ›

If you're between 60 and 66, you may have an easy time getting disability benefits while saving your full retirement benefits. Winning a disability claim generally gets easier for people as they become older. This is particularly true for people over the age of 60.

How long does SSDI approval take for veterans? ›

Most claims will be processed in 3-5 months, but veterans with 100% P&T or vets injured on active duty after October 2002 will be processed quicker. Because VA disability and SSDI do not affect one another, the additional income should help you and your family adjust to life back as a civilian.

Does VA disability count as income for SSDI? ›

VA disability benefits don't affect your SSDI or vice versa; if you qualify for both programs, each will pay the full amount to which you are entitled.

What does 100 VA disability entitle you to? ›

Veterans with a 100 percent disability rating receive the maximum monthly, tax-free compensation available. Depending on the circumstances, a Veteran with a 100 percent disability rating receives monthly compensation of $3,106.04.

Can a 90 percent disabled veteran receive Social Security? ›

Disabled veterans with a combined rating of 10% or greater are entitled to compensation in the form of a cash benefit. A single- or combined-impairment rating of 100% constitutes total-disability status. As the accompanying tabulation shows, higher disability ratings entitle recipients to greater benefit amounts.

What is the timeline for SSDI? ›

Generally, if your application for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is approved, you must wait five months before you can receive your first SSDI benefit payment. This means you would receive your first payment in the sixth full month after the date we find that your disability began.

How long before I get my first VA disability check? ›

If your decision notice shows at least a 10% disability rating, you'll get your first payment within 15 days. We'll pay you either by direct deposit or check. If you don't get a payment after 15 days, please call the Veterans help line at 800-827-1000, Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. ET.

Can you get Social Security with 100 VA disability? ›

A Veterans Affairs compensation rating of 100% P&T doesn't guarantee that you'll receive Social Security disability benefits. To receive disability benefits from Social Security, a person must have a severe impairment expected to last at least one year or to result in death.

Do veterans get extra Social Security benefits? ›

Since 1957, if you had military service earnings for active duty (including active duty for training), you may have extra Social Security wage credits added to your earnings record.

Can I get SSDI for PTSD? ›

Yes, it is possible to receive Social Security Disability benefits for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), but you must meet certain requirements, including proper medical documentation.

Can veterans fly for free? ›

Flights are typically free of charge, but you should contact your closest Air Mobility Command passenger terminal or the terminal at the location you intend to depart from for specific information.

At what age does VA disability become permanent? ›

20 Years: Continuous Rating

If, after twenty years, a service-connected disability is rated at or above the originally assigned rating level, it may not be lowered below the original level.


1. VA Disability & Social Security Disability Insurance | VA & SSDI | Social Security | theSITREP
(U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs)
2. Maximize Your Income! | VA and Social Security Benefits Together | Find Out More
(Hill and Ponton, P.A.)
3. How Social Security Disability handles Veterans with a 100% Disability Rating?
(Melissa Lanouette - Attorney at Law)
4. How To TRIPLE Your Chances of SSDI Approval
(Devin Carroll)
5. The ideal candidate for Social Security Disability Benefits
6. Top 5 Easiest VA Disability Claims to get Approved
(Combat Craig)


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